Who are intersex people?
Who are intersex people ?
Intersex is an umbrella term for the experience of being born with a body that does not meet the societal expectation of male or female. We are individuals born with sex characteristics that are either female and male at the same time or not quite female or male or neither female or male. Our sex characteristics and bodies are healthy variations of the human sexes.
Innate variations of sex characteristics can be manyfold: inner and/or outer genitalia, chromosomes and/or the hormonal structure may not match societal and medical expectations, as may other sex characteristics like muscle mass, hair distribution or stature, to name but a few. Although we are born with variations of sex characteristics, they might not be visible at birth. Intersex bodies can present themselves as intersex prenatally, at birth, during childhood, in puberty or in adulthood. A person may realize being intersex at a very early age or later on in life. Depending on the life circumstances and the specific body some intersex people even might never know that they are intersex. If you are intersex you may have, or have had, some of the following experiences:
Being surgically and medically treated during childhood, adolescence and/or adulthood; you have been told that the reason for the treatment is related to your bodily diversity; you have been diagnosed with a diagnose related to “disorder/differences of sex development” (DSD) or another older diagnose refering to intersexuality or hermaphroditism; you may or have/had experience that people harass you on the grounds of your bodily diversity. What issues do intersex people face ?
Intersex people all over Europe face severe breaches of their human rights, including pathologisation of their bodies, medical interventions without personal, prior, persistent and fully informed consent, violation of their physical integrity, psychological trauma, invisibilisation, stigma, structural and verbal discrimination, harassment, lack of access to relevant or/and needed medication and lack of legal recognition. This can lead to follow-up surgeries, life-long hormonal treatment and health imparements as well as to high risk of becoming a school drop-out, leading to inadequate education, broken carreers and poverty (including homelessness) due to pathologisation and related trauma, a disturbed family life due to taboo and medicalisation, lack of self-esteem and a high risk of becoming suicidal.